On This Day…
On the 27th August 1933 John Agar died aged 23
‘He died that others might live.’ First awarded in 1934 the Agar Memorial Prize has been awarded to the best Royal Signals officer cadet from each intake at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst;
Lieutenant John Agar was born on 13 January 1910. He was educated at Eton and was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in January 1930. After his qualifying course at Catterick, he joined 3rd Divisional Signals at Bulford, where he quickly made his reputation as an excellent regimental officer commanding ‘E’ Section, supporting one of the division’s artillery regiments. He was an athlete and a mainstay of the regimental athletics team as a middle distance runner.
On 27 August 1933, Lieutenant Agar was with four of his soldiers at Studland Bay, Dorset. Two men, Drivers T Brown and J H Castle, got into difficulty in deep water 100 yards from shore. Lieutenant Agar went to their rescue. He managed to save Brown but in attempting to rescue Driver Castle he was drowned; Castle was later brought in by others.
Sacrifice recognised by Royal Humane Society
Lieutenant Agar was buried with military honours in Tidworth Military Cemetery. His sacrifice was recognised by the In Memoriam Testimonial on Vellum and the Certificate of the Carnegie Hero Trust Fund. Later that year his parents donated a silver ‘victor ludorum’ cup to 3rd Divisional Signals that was to be competed for annually at the regimental athletics meeting; it was first won the following year by Lance Corporal J Etchells, a fellow runner in the athletics team and a well-regarded Corps rugby player and all-round sportsman. The first Agar Memorial Prize was presented to Gentleman Cadet B. H. P. Barnes (later Colonel B. H. P. Barnes OBE).